Hilton Kuala Lumpur,
Jalan Stesen Sentral, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2264 2596
Business hours: Lunch: Noon to 2.30pm (Monday to Friday),
11am to 2.30pm (Saturday and Sunday).
Dinner: 6.30pm to 10.30pm, daily.
THERE is only a short window of opportunity to discover new and flavoursome yee sang creations at Chinese restaurants during the Lunar New Year.
While some go for usual yee sang flavours with salmon or jelly fish, those with a hankering for modern creations prefer tossing up the colourful ingredients served with an unconventional ingredient on the platter.
An example of an unusual yee sang treat is the Premium Kanzaki Pumpkin and Korean Pear Lo Sang at Chynna.
So, what makes this pumpkin so special that it captured Hilton Kuala Lumpur’s Chinese executive chef Lam Hock Hin’s attention?
“Last year, a friend presented two Kanzaki pumpkins to me and when I tried it, I truly enjoyed the taste.
“And I knew I wanted to use the pumpkin for this year’s yee sang as it is sweet and blends well with the other vegetarian ingredients,” said Lam.
The pumpkin’s uncanny resemblance to a golden bowl was the other reason that convinced Lam the fruit was an ideal ingredient for Chynna’s star yee sang for 2015.
“It looks like a golden bowl and for the Chinese, ‘gold’ is important as it signifies prosperity,” he said.
The use of the Korean pear as the additional ingredient, also has connotations of the words tai kat tai lei, which means lots of luck and prosperity.
And while most of us holler for good health and prosperity in the Year of the Goat, Lam has been thinking of what to feature for next year’s yee sang speciality.
“I thought about this year’s yee sang speciality last year and although Chinese New Year has not ended, I am already thinking of an ingredient to feature in 2016,” said the award-winning chef.
Sadly, Chynna’s much-raved about Hakka ‘Lei Cha’ with Rice Bran Oil ‘Lo Sang’, which is a vegetarian favourite, is not in the line-up of yee sang dishes this year.
Lam said that besides the Premium Kanzaki Pumpkin and Korean Pear Lo Sang, the restaurant serves Norwegian Salmon Lo Sang, Norwegian Salmon Lo Sang with Chef’s Special Salted Green Pea Sauce and Japanese Sweet Prawn Lo Sang.
The Japanese prawn used in the yee sang dish is soft, tender and sweet.
“The prawn’s sweetness and that it can be eaten raw makes it suitable for yee sang,” said Lam.
During a luncheon to savour some of Chynna’s toothsome Chinese New Year dishes, we enjoyed the flavourful and rich Braised Abalone Soup with Dried Scallop and Fatt Choy after eating the yee sang.
Although, it is not exactly a soupy dish as portrayed, it was well-received around the table.
We ate every bit that was served because it is considered a dish that brings the diner a whole load of luck.
To usher in the Year of the Wooden Goat, applewood chips helped to flavour the chicken in our next course.
The Applewood Smoked Chicken is cold smoked for 30 minutes for the aroma to be infused into the meat, which is marinated with a simple marinade of ginger, salt, pepper and angelica root before being baked.
The Steamed Tiger Grouper Chunks with Pickled Vegetable, Dried Shrimp and Chilli is a serving of fleshy meat with preserved vegetable, dried shrimp and finely chopped red chilli.
“The fish is meaty and tasty and the toppings of pickled vegetable, dried shrimp and red chilli adds texture and flavour to the fish,” he said.
Lam also served up a delightful dish of Claypot Stewed Sea Cucumber with Dried Oysters, Goose Web and Fatt Choy, yet another dish that is deemed prosperous.
My favourite of the day had to be the Fried Savoury Lily Flower and Prawns Coated with Salted Egg Yolk.
For this presentation, Lam extracts spinach juice and adds it to a flour batter.
The lily flowers are then dipped into the batter and deepfried.
Likewise, fresh prawns dipped in a batter of salted egg yolk and flour resulted in the very likeable crustacean offering.
Like all Chinese dinners, rice or noodles is a must and for our Lunar New Year food trip at Chynna, the Fragrant Fried Rice with Preserved Duck Meat wrapped in Lotus Leaf was served.
Naturally, the dish is not comparable to the waxed rice duck dish served during the season, as it lacked some crucial ingredients not served in a pork-free restaurant.
For desserts, we tasted a cool treat of Wild Hasma Jelly with Dates and Apricot and a hot from the wok Deepfried Vietnamese Crispy Rice Rolls with Lemon Nian Gao.
“The lemon nian gao is something new this year as I wanted the refreshing taste of lemon to awaken the tastebuds after eating all those dishes,” he said.
Chynna’s Chinese New Year dishes and set menus are available until March 5.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.